Small Changes That Make a Big Difference
In the last article in this series we looked at floor management, and what distinguishes a leader from a mere manager. One of the key attributes of a leader is ability to engage their staff, so let’s take a deeper dive into the subject and consider how to motivate your team.
Motivating and engaging staff
It would be great if every member of your staff turned up for work every day bubbling with enthusiasm. But they are people with ups and downs in their lives, not machines. Therefore, it is up to owners and managers to make them feel motivated, engaged and energised. It is something you must do – but it is all too easy to get it wrong. This skill comes naturally to some people but most of us need to work on it!
1. Motivate yourself!
Enthusiasm is infectious. Unfortunately, so too is its opposite, apathy or indifference. Therefore, before you can know how to motivate your team, you should work on yourself first. And that is largely a personal matter. For some of us it is an early morning run and a cold shower, for others it is standing in front of the mirror and telling ourselves how hot we are. But one thing we should all do is to set ourselves daily, weekly and annual goals. Ask yourself every day, “What do I want to achieve?” and then look back at the day and rate your performance. Your goals should be a mix of tangible (e.g. sales targets) and intangible (e.g. putting a smile on a colleague’s face).
2. Share the company vision
There are plenty of books on branding and market positioning out there, but let’s stick to everyday language. If you’re running a bar or restaurant, you want your customers to be able to complete the following sentence without having to think about it: “I go to [name of establishment] because …”
The answer could be something very simple such as “because they serve the best coffee and snacks in town”. The point is that all of your staff should feel that they are contributing to this proposition, and that they feel they are indispensable in making it a reality, whatever their job.
The reason why this is important is that employees see how their efforts impact the success of your company as a whole, rather than just through the small lens of their day-to-day routine. This will make them feel more motivated to give their very best. It’s been scientifically proven: we all want work that is meaningful; by making a difference to other people’s lives we feel a psychological boost.
3. Show your appreciation
It may seem like stating the obvious, but the key word here is “show”. A word of praise or a pat on the back is always very welcome, but there is a lot more you can do. Some Bizimply customers, for example, show appreciation for their employees by sharing their achievements and occasions such as birthdays on their Facebook or Instagram page or other social media.
Take a genuine interest in them as individuals with lives outside of work. By asking questions about their family, hobbies and activities, people feel more valued as individuals.
Celebrate staff members’ birthdays and use the occasion to make a short speech praising the contribution. In an industry where high rates of turnover are the norm, it is especially important to acknowledge, celebrate and reward longevity. Five years in the job deserves something extra special: showing your appreciation will be money well spent.
Show your appreciation for team effort as well as individuals. Create a regular company “tradition” that people can look forward to, such as going out for a pizza every first Friday of the month. There are many other things you can do to show your appreciation – but it’s your job to work out what best suits your company. And remember: celebrations are for the staff, as individuals or as a team. Bosses sometimes make the fatal mistake of thinking it is about them, which will be seen as arrogance and vanity.
Employees like to feel that their opinions are valued, and they like to let off steam now and again.
There is nothing more demotivating than a boss who already “knows everything” and does little to interact meaningfully with other team members. Sometimes employees will come up with good ideas, but simply listening to what they have to say will make them feel more engaged with the business. Make time for this – no boss should ever be so busy that they have no time to listen.
5. Offer incentives
A little competition between employees can be a good thing, but here again, it is important to take care and strike the right balance. You can and should reward achievements such as top sales results or best attendance record, but they should not be excessive and there should never be any hint of favouritism.
Incentives can also be linked to more specific objectives. Perhaps you trying to push a new menu item? Tell your service staff that whoever manages to sell most will be rewarded. A gift voucher or a small cash prize should do the trick.
6. Let them have fun
Work is a serious business, of course, but it should not become monotonous and routine, or staff (especially young staff) will leave. Giving your team an opportunity to cut loose and have fun can help everyone focus and work harder. Many companies provide facilities for games in the break rooms like table tennis or table football where staff can unwind. This is often impossible in the cramped space of a high-street outlet, which can lead to frustration, so look for alternatives offsite.
Team building exercises can also be a good idea. Take your team out several times a year to do something fun such as bowling or mini golf. Again, it will depend on your company and your employee profile – not everyone is into paintball!
7. Fair distribution of tips
If yours is a business where it is normal for staff to get service charges or tips, you should implement a tronc scheme and explain it to employees. Tronc schemes (from the French word for a collecting box) allow customer tips and service charges to be distributed to your employees in a tax-efficient manner and provide a cost-free method of motivation, incentives and rewards. They also give customers the confidence of knowing tips will be shared equitably. Bizimply works with the specialist Chartered Accountants WMT Hospitality Services, which, among other things, can offer advice on implementing the optimal tronc scheme for your business.That wraps up our coverage of labour management issues for now. We will move onto another topic in the next article in this series. But before you go, consider how Bizimply can simplify your processes and give you time to increase employee engagement…